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It’s another huge week for outdoor music with classical, funk, gospel, hip hop, jazz, a tribute to the Beatles, and two Italian nights. Other options include a new night market, sculpture, story-telling, an e-waste recycling event, an art conference, pie-crumbling, and poetry.

July 16, Queens Night Market, 6 pm to 11 pm. A social event and night market with food, crafts, live performances, and a deejay. Flushing Town Hall, 137-35 Northern Blvd.

July 16, SummerStage: Lyricist Lounge, 7 pm. Large Professor, a hip hop producer from Flushing, and Marley Marl, a hip hop producer from Queensbridge, perform. Free. Queensbridge Park, vicinity of 41st Road, 40th Avenue, Vernon Boulevard, and the East River, LIC.

July 16, Alí Bello & The Sweet Wire Band, 6:30 pm. Through the Third Thursdays in Bliss Plaza program, Alí Bello & The Sweet Wire Band present Latin jazz fusion invigorated by Afro-Caribbean musical styles. Free. Bliss Plaza, Queens Boulevard and 46th Street under the elevated 7 train station, Sunnyside.

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You won’t believe your ears or your pocketbooks. Queens is about to experience a streak of fantastic, free, outdoor concerts over the next five days. Listeners will be able to bring their folding chairs, blankets, and dancing shoes to Flushing, Long Island City, Queensbridge, and Sunnyside and enjoy everything from hip hop to polka to R&B. George Clinton, Parliament Funkadelic, and the Chi-Lites are the biggest acts, but some performers, such as minimalist musician Florent Ghys (above), are masters of lesser-known genres.

Here is the schedule:

  • The Glukh Polka Band plays polkas, waltzes, and polonaises at Flushing Town Hall on July 12 at 2 pm.
  • Florent Ghys mixes minimalist music with classical forms, musique concrète, and even clapping and hair dryers as part of the Bang on a Can series at Noguchi Museum on July 12 at 3 pm.
  • The Chi-Lites, a group from the 1970s Chicago scene that was inducted into the Rhythm & Blues Hall of Fame in 2000, kicks off the borough’s SummerStage series at Queensbridge Park on July 14 at 7 pm.
  • Gerard Carelli & His Orchestra do a wide variety of swing music in Juniper Valley Park on July 14 at 7 pm.
  • George Clinton and Parliament Funkadelic, who were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1997, bring their unique funk to Queensbridge Park as part of SummerStage on July 15 at 7 pm.
  • Yesterday and Today, a Beatles tribute band, jams near the Unisphere in Flushing Meadows Corona Park on July 15 at 7 pm.
  • Large Professor, a hip hop star from Flushing, and Marley Marl, a hip hop star from Queensbridge, take the stage at Queensbridge Park as part of SummerStage on July 16 at 7 pm.
  • Alí Bello & The Sweet Wire Band perform Latin jazz fusion in Sunnyside’s Bliss Plaza on July 16 at 6:30 pm.
  • Soul Inscribed plays a mix of hip hop, dub, funk, and soul, while Jennifer Cendaña Armas tells diaspora stories as part of SummerStage in Queensbridge Park on July 17 at 7 pm.

Photo by Florent Ghys

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There’s no place like hip-hop home. The rappers Havoc and Prodigy, who work together as the infamous Mobb Deep (above), will return to their native Queensbridge housing projects to give a free concert on July 17th as part of the NYC Parks SummerStage Presents series. The Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, featuring 15 of the world’s finest soloists and ensemble players and led by Wynton Marsalis, is also scheduled to perform this month, as are Ismael Miranda, aka “El niño bonito de la Salsa,” and laid-back Washington, D.C.-based R&B vocalist J. Holiday. But the extravaganza offers more than music, as the Harambee Dance Company (below) will perform and  Puppetmobile and Teatro SEA will appear as part of SummerStage Kids.

Concert details: Ismael Miranda/Rebel Tumbao/Joe Claussell (Sacred Rhythm Music), July 15th, 7 pm; J. Holiday/Jon B with WBLS, July 16th, 7 pm; Mobb Deep with Lyricist Lounge, July 17th, 7 pm; Harambee Dance Company, July 18th, 7 pm; Queens Family Day: Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra/Rashida Bumbray/ Michael Mossman & Copland Jazz with Kupferberg Center for the Arts at Queens College, July 20th, 4 pm; Ifetayo Youth Ensemble, July 31st, 10:30 am; Puppetmobile, August 7th, 10:30 am; and Teatro SEA, August 14th, 10:30 am.

Location and price details: Queensbridge Park, vicinity of Vernon Boulevard, 41st Avenue and the East River, Long Island City, all concerts are free. 

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This Saturday, as part of the Jane’s Walk weekend, Urban Upbound’s Bishop Mitchell Taylor will lead a free tour through Queensbridge, North America’s largest public housing development. Taylor, who has lived in and around Queensbridge Houses for the past forty-three years, will discuss the history of the development, the community revitalization efforts, and the effects of the nearby development boom. The tour starts at noon at the 21st Street/Queensbridge F train station and lasts for two hours. Here are all the details.

This morning the New York Daily News reported that the tour, expected to bring in as many as 100 visitors, has left some Queensbridge residents wary. According to the News, “Some residents feared the tour would breach their privacy by bringing unfamiliar faces to their halls and backyards.” But a Jane’s Walk spokesperson insisted that the tour will not interfere with residents’ daily lives, “and could even lead to discussions between them and tourists.”

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On August 11th, 1973, Kool DJ Herc and his sister Cindy organized a back-to-school party in the recreation room of a residential building at 1520 Sedgwick Avenue in the Bronx. The shindig is credited with launching the Hip Hop movement, although Queens played a huge role in the genre’s rise, thanks to Queensbridge native DJ Marley Marl, a veritable captain of the industry, and such mainstream talent as Run-DMC, LL Cool J and Salt-N-Pepa. On May 1st, Herc (above) and Marley Marl (after the jump) will spin records, talk shop, and bust rhymes at Queens Library’s central branch to kick off 31 Days of Non-Stop Hip Hop. During the entire month, the library will host free Hip Hop events at various branches throughout the borough. Here’s the schedule:

  • History of Hip Hop with Kool DJ Herc and DJ Marley Marl, Central Branch, 89-11 Merrick Boulevard, Jamaica. Teens only. Free ticket is required. May 1st, 4 pm.
  • Who’s the Best MC: the Voice of Harlem and DJ Ted Smooth, Queens Library for Teens, 2002 Cornaga Avenue, Far Rockaway. May 2nd, 4 pm.
  • Family Day Jam: Zulu Nation, Langston Hughes Branch, 100-01 Northern Boulevard, Corona. May 3rd, 2 pm.
  • This week in Hip Hop (a web-only event), #HipHopElements. May 4th.
  • Who’s the Best MC: Actor and Personality Marc John Jeffries & DJ G-Money, Langston Hughes Branch, 100-01 Northern Boulevard, Corona. May 5th, 4 pm.
  • Queens Memory Hip Hop in Your ‘Hood. Share memories, memorabilia and photos. St. Albans Branch, 191-05 Linden Boulevard. May 6th, 5 pm.
  • Teen Fashion Entrepreneurs: Keith Perrin (founder of FUBU), Queens Library for Teens, 2002 Cornaga Avenue, Far Rockaway. May 6th, 4 pm.
  • Teen Fashion Entrepreneurs: Keith Perrin (founder of FUBU), Queens Library for Teens, 2002 Cornaga Avenue, Far Rockaway. May 7th, 4 pm.
  • Create your own music experience, Central Branch, 89-11 Merrick Boulevard, Jamaica. May 8th, 4 pm.
  • Battle of the DJs: Media celeb Steph Lova & DJ G-Money, Queens Library for Teens, 2002 Cornaga Avenue, Far Rockaway. May 9th, 4 pm.
  • Hip Hop Book/Movie List – A Facebook event, #HipHopElements. May 10th.
  • Hip Hop College of Music & Arts: Queens Library for Teens, 2002 Cornaga Avenue, Far Rockaway. May 12th, 4 pm.
  • Hip Hop College of Music & Arts: Queens Library for Teens, 2002 Cornaga Avenue, Far Rockaway. May 13th, 4 pm.
  • Queens Memory Hip Hop in Your ‘Hood. Share memories, memorabilia and photos. St. Albans Branch, 191-05 Linden Boulevard. May 13th, 5 pm.
  • Hip Hop Book Review, Central Branch, 89-11 Merrick Boulevard, Jamaica. May 14th, 4 pm.
  • Poetry Live: Central Branch, 89-11 Merrick Boulevard, Jamaica. May 15th, 4 pm.
  • Break Dance Workshop: Langston Hughes Branch, 100-01 Northern Boulevard, Corona. May 16th, 4 pm.
  • Dance Competition: DUOLIVE (MC Fre and DJ Sid V), Queens Library for Teens, 2002 Cornaga Avenue, Far Rockaway. May 16th, 4 pm.
  • Family Day Jam: Zulu Nation, Arverne Branch, 312 Beach 54th Street. May 17th, 2 pm.
  • This week in Hip Hop (a web-only event), #HipHopElements. May 18th.
  • Break Dance Expo: Langston Hughes Branch, 100-01 Northern Boulevard, Corona. May 19th, 4 pm.
  • Create your own record label, Queens Library for Teens, 2002 Cornaga Avenue, Far Rockaway. May 20th, 4 pm.
  • Queens Memory Hip Hop in Your ‘Hood. Share memories, memorabilia and photos. St. Albans Branch, 191-05 Linden Boulevard. May 20th, 5 pm.
  • Create your own record label, Queens Library for Teens, 2002 Cornaga Avenue,  Far Rockaway. May 21st, 4 pm.
  • Create your own record label, Queens Library for Teens, 2002 Cornaga Avenue,  Far Rockaway. May 22nd, 4 pm.
  • Create your own record label, Queens Library for Teens, 2002 Cornaga Avenue, Far Rockaway. May 23rd, 4 pm.
  • Hip Hop Book/Movie List on Facebook, #HipHopElements. May 24th.
  • This week in Hip Hop (a web-only event), #HipHopElements. May 25th.
  • Hip Hop Elements Picture of The Day, #HipHopElements. May 26th.
  • Intro to Graffiti Art, Langston Hughes Branch, 100-01 Northern Boulevard, Corona. May 27th, 4 pm.
  • Graffiti Art Workshop: Langston Hughes Branch, 100-01 Northern Boulevard, Corona. May 28 4 pm.
  • Rock the Mic: DUOLIVE, Queens Library for Teens, 2002 Cornaga Avenue, Far Rockaway. May 28th, 4 pm.
  • Poetry & Art Showcase, Central Branch, 89-11 Merrick Boulevard, Jamaica. May 29th, 4 pm.
  • Intro to the Entertainment Industry: “Uncle” Ralph McDaniels, Queens Library for Teens, 2002 Cornaga Avenue, Far Rockaway. May 30th, 4 pm.
  • A Visual History of Hip Hop: “Uncle” Ralph McDaniels, Langston Hughes Branch, 100-01 Northern Boulevard, Corona. May 31st, 2 pm.

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One of my obsessions, practiced while wandering around Queens, centers around photographing Fireboxes. Rather than garnering suspicious glances from the local gendarmé, my intention is to record these ubiquitous pieces of street furniture before their inevitable removal.

The one pictured above was on Crescent Street, where I believed myself to be standing on the Astoria side of the street.

Review Avenue, nearby Calvary Cemetery, is where the one pictured above can be found.

This little project of mine got started a few years ago – when first Mayor Giuliani, and then Mayor Bloomberg – announced intentions to remove the alarm system from service, due to the high number of false alarms (one city lawyer claimed false alarms counted for as much as 85-95 percent of alarm box calls) reported through the street fixtures. The reasoning as stated was that since most people carried cell phones, with direct access to 911, the century old alarm box system was no longer needed and an unnecessary expense.